DO YOU REALLY NEED TO REBRAND?
Your brand is something that has to flex and adapt along with your business as it adapts and grows so it will likely be changing all the time, often in very small ways. So how do you know whether you need to make small changes or big sweeping ones? How do you know if you need to change anything at all? In this article we’ll look at some of the reasons why you may want to just make some tweaks to your brand, or leave it alone altogether.
YOU HAVE JUST TAKEN ON A NEW AGENCY
There is a tendency to believe that when you take on a new branding or design agency you will invariably end up changing everything about your brand. Maybe your new agency is even telling you that it’s a good idea! Truth be told though, it’s not a given that it needs to happen. If your existing brand is already strong then your new agency should be able to work with it rather than need to tweak it to fit their own limitations. Now to be fair, it’s entirely possible that your brand just doesn’t fit with their favoured style but this is something that should be addressed before hiring them rather than something you should suffer for afterwards.
YOU ONLY NEED TO APPLY IT TO OTHER PLACES
Imagine that you have a logo that you’re happy with and you’re currently using it on your website, on your business cards, on your letterheads and on your email signatures. Now what happens when you decide that you want to launch a Twitter account? Do you need to overhaul your logo to make sure that it works on Twitter too? Of course not! Maybe you need a tweak or you need to focus on something else for your Twitter profile icon but it’s incredibly unlikely that you need to throw everything out and start again. Your brand is more than just your logo. It is made up of things like your tone of voice, your graphics, colour palettes and photography styles. If you need to start branding in a new area then there is hopefully enough in your branding arsenal to make it work without an overhaul.
YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
This is pretty much the opposite of what you want to do! Although there are certain elements that will appear across the brands of several companies in an industry, that doesn’t mean that they should all look and feel the same. For example, you might find photos of burgers on the websites of almost every burger bar in the country but the style of those photos will be different, as will the visual elements surrounding them and the tone of the language talking about them. Trying to make yourself look like your competitors is not only a legally risky move but also makes you fade into the mix and gives your potential customers nothing to hang on to when deciding who deserves their money. On the flip side this doesn’t mean that you need to be extreme and do everything totally backwards to your competition but if you already do enough to set yourself apart then a drastic change might not be necessary.
YOU’RE ONLY MAKING SMALL CHANGES TO YOUR BUSINESS
As already mentioned, your brand should respond to any changes in your business. So if you launch a new product that does something different to what you currently offer, you may need to add elements that evoke those benefits to your customers. However, you don’t need to overhaul everything about your brand just to include these additions that might only apply to one product or service. Adding just a few small elements will build your overall brand whereas totally changing it might still reflect your old and new values, but the disadvantages of confusing customers with a drastic change, as well as the cost involved, are completely unnecessary. Revamping your brand every time you launch a new product will get very expensive!
THERE ARE BIGGER CHANGES COMING THAT WILL REQUIRE A REBRAND
If you know that there are plans in place for your company that will require big changes in the near future, like moving into a completely different sector for example, then overhauling your brand for the sake of one or two small reasons now may not be the best idea. A rebrand can be expensive and time consuming so going through the process knowing that you will have to do it again in a short period of time can be a massive drain on resources. There is also an impact on your customers who may experience a degree of confusion if your brand drastically changes repeatedly in a short period of time.
YOU CAN’T LIVE BY IT
Your brand should be authentic to your values and behaviours as a company. If you can’t live up to what you say you will do you can face all kinds of problems. Not only will your reputation suffer as customers become disillusioned by the fact that they will feel misled but there are operational issues as those same customers constantly put pressure on you to supply the service that they thought they were getting. Imagine being an internet service provider and basing your whole brand around the notion of speed. In reality you may not be anywhere near the fastest provider and actually base your behaviors around excellent customer service. Although your behavior is still good, your customers will be disillusioned as they came to you for the speed, not the service. So if you’re considering a rebrand but you’re looking at a direction that doesn’t truly reflect who you are then you should think twice unless you plan on making changes to your company at the same time. This sounds like a lot of effort but if you do desperately want to rebrand you will often find that getting everyone in your company involved through training and branding guidance can have lots of benefits to morale and save you money in the long run.
YOU HAVE HAD A CHANGE OF LEADERSHIP
This happens more often than you might imagine. A new person comes in at the top of a company and decides that they need to put their own stamp on everything by overhauling its look and feel. This is great if they actually see a genuine reason for change but often it’s just to give the illusion of change and progress when in reality everything is still in the same place. Obviously if there are other changes to the company planned then a rebrand could be entirely appropriate. But if not, then it might be best to leave things alone for now.
YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE YOURSELF COMPLETELY UNRECOGNISABLE
This one may well look confusing to some people who might be asking themselves “but isn’t the whole point of a rebrand to look and feel different than before?” Well, yes, no, sometimes, maybe and absolutely…. not! It really depends on the situation but quite often you will find that it is absolutely essential to keep certain elements of your brand that people will still recognise. If you sell ice cream in supermarkets and decide to completely change every aspect of your brand, including your name, then it is very likely that existing customers will experience confusion as to whether you’re the same company or not. In this case it might be best to slowly evolve your brand rather than doing everything in one go so your customers can still spot your product on shelves or online. It may well be worth looking at just those specific elements of your brand that you feel aren’t working rather than changing absolutely everything.
There are plenty of reasons to rebrand your company, product or service but any reason for change isn’t always enough to warrant changing everything. In fact, doing so may actually be disadvantageous in terms of connection with your customers, demands on your staff and time and money spent on the process. Sometimes small or phased changes are better than big ones.